Friday, September 5, 2014

Last Year, A Thin 5 "Points" From Civilian Review

On September 15th of last year, Alderman Ogilvie, Alderwoman Ingrassia and Alderman Cohn were 5 "points" away from sponsoring and introducing legislation in the City of St. Louis Board of Aldermen establishing an independent civilian review board for the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department. This was the day of Potluck PAC #1, a policy "crowdsourcing" event funded in large part with funds from Alderman Ogilvie's campaign committee. (Some three days later, Ogilvie would host an official reelection campaign fundraiser, recouping the $1,100 his campaign committee spent on Potluck PAC #1 plus $1,184.)

Anyway, back to the 5 "points." Potluck PAC #1's ballot was weighted. There were four policy proposals on which to vote, while the ballot allowed for the voter to rank three policy proposals. 1st preference = 5 "points" for the proposal. 2nd preference = 3 "points" for the proposal. 3rd preference = 1 "point" for the proposal. When Potluck PAC announced the winning proposal the day following the vote, Potluck PAC said only that the vote was "very close." After polite requests from both me and another presenter, Potluck PAC provided the "point" totals for each proposal:
1. Citizen Police Review Board — 30.8% (178 out of 577 total points)
2. Land Asset Cooperative — 31.7% (183 out of 577 total points)
3. Reauthorization of Street Closures — 25.8% (149 out of 577 total points)
4. Prohibition of Tenant Application Fees — 11.6% (67 out of 577 total points)
Following Potluck PAC's publishing of these point totals, I asked both publicly and privately of Potluck PAC to provide the data as to the number of first place, second place and third place votes for each proposal. Despite private assurances from Potluck PAC that such data would be made available in due time, nearly a year has gone by without Potluck PAC making such data available. Making available such data, the number of place votes for each proposal, would present a more clear picture of preferences and priorities of the Potluck PAC #1 "electorate." Moreover, I can think of no more practical audit of the vote than to compile and provide such data.

At any rate, the Potluck PAC #1 vote appears to have been a close one. Independent civilian review board legislation was reported by Potluck PAC as being but 5 "points" from sponsorship and introduction in the Board of Aldermen by Alderman Ogilvie, Alderwoman Ingrassia and Alderman Cohn. Given the recent police shooting deaths of Michael Brown and Kajieme Powell, I believe it safe to assume that, were the Potluck PAC #1 vote held this year in September, independent civilian review legislation would have more than closed such a thin 5 "point" gap.

As introduction of independent civilian review board legislation in the Board of Aldermen draws near, one question is whether Alderman Ogilvie, Alderwoman Ingrassia and Alderman Cohn each will sign on to such legislation as sponsor or co-sponsor. Last year, each was 5 "points" from doing just that. Last year, Michael Brown and Kajieme Powell had yet to be shot dead in the street by police officers.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Avoiding Another Veto of Civilian Review

It would appear that the City of St. Louis Board of Aldermen will soon entertain legislation that would establish a civilian review board for the City's police department.

In 2006, City of St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay vetoed aldermanic Board Bill 69, which would have established a civilian review board for the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department (SLMPD). The legal reasons for Mayor Slay's veto of the civilian review board bill, well-supported by law as discussed in a City Counselor's Office legal memorandum, were threefold:
  1. A civilian review board for SLMPD in and of itself would contravene Missouri statutory law. At the time of Slay's veto, SLMPD was, by state statutory law, under the exclusive control of the State of Missouri. 
  2. The procedures of civilian review of SLMPD as set forth in Board Bill 69 would violate officers' US and MO Constitutional rights as set forth in the Garrity line of case law.
  3. The procedures of civilian review of SLMPD as set forth in Board Bill 69 would contravene certain legal duties of confidentiality borne by SLMPD, particularly those duties to maintain the confidentiality of materials of or related to SLMPD investigations.
Reason number 1 for Slay's 2006 veto, that a civilian review board for SLMPD in and of itself would contravene Missouri law, cannot be a reason for veto now. SLMPD is no longer under the exclusive control of the State of Missouri. Now, SLMPD is under the "local control" of the City of St. Louis. Currently, this "local control" is vested exclusively in the Mayor's Office.

Reason number 2 for Slay's2006 veto, that the procedures of civilian review as set forth in Board Bill 69 would violate officers' Constitutional rights, can still be a valid reason for a veto. On this point, the Mayor will likely again rely on a legal memorandum by the City Counselor's Office with regard to the decision of whether to veto civilian review board legislation.

Reason number 3 for Slay's 2006 veto, that the procedures of civilian review as set forth in Board Bill 69 would contravene SLMPD's certain duties of confidentiality, can still be a valid reason for a veto. On this point, the Mayor will likely again rely on a legal memorandum by the City Counselor's Office with regard to the decision of whether to veto civilian review board legislation.

In conclusion, I don't predict that Mayor Slay signs a civilian review bill without a City Counselor's Office legal memorandum attesting to the bill's legality. If the City Counselor's Office now is not part of the new legislation's crafting, then the City Counselor's Office soon ought be given its part.

Friday, August 8, 2014


Here's how the St. Louis American characterized the City License Collector's race in its endorsement of Mavis Thompson: "We believe Slay [who endorsed Boyd and whose operation directed financial and logistical support to Jeffrey Boyd's candidacy] ultimately is trying to send a message, in this largely insignificant race, that he is the sole king-maker in the city and can do as he pleases, regardless of what anyone – and especially the city’s black community – thinks about it."

The Boyd campaign for License Collector came up short by a little more than 400 votes. Boyd carried his home ward, the North Side's 22nd, but failed to carry any other North Side ward. In most other North Side wards, Thompson ran up large margins over Boyd. While 9 North Side wards delivered Thompson at least +200 margins, Boyd enjoyed only 5 such wards delivering to him +200 margins ... and all 5 such wards were South Side wards.

Thompson and Boyd ran basically evenly in the Central Corridor's 28th and 7th wards and in the South Side's majority-black 20th. In the Central Corridor's 17th, Thompson won by 83 votes. In the Central Corridor/Near South Side's 6th (much of which is Lewis Reed's home turf), Thompson crushed Boyd by 266 votes.

While after-primary campaign spending reports won't be available until next week, it looks to be that the Boyd campaign outspent the Thompson campaign by a more than 2-1 ratio. It would appear, however, that each Boyd campaign dollar spent yielded an increasingly-diminishing return.

Perhaps the American is largely correct that the License Collector's race is "largely insignificant." There is, however, significance to the numbers that the License Collector's race yielded. A likely-contested President of the Board of Aldermen race approaches. Consider this License Collector's race a rehearsal of sorts. Consider it a message.     

City of St. Louis License Collector (Dem) citywide result:

Mavis Thompson: 14,167
Jeffrey Boyd: 13,756

Mavis Thompson: +411

Mavis Thompson margin of vote vs. Jeffrey Boyd, by ward:

21: +422
01: +380
18: +373
27: +354
26: +317
04: +314
06: +266
19: +250
02: +243
05: +105
03: +100
17: +083
07: -002
20: -018
28: -027
09: -067
25: -073
08: -075
11: -109
14: -123
10: -127
15: -140
22: -172
24: -251
13: -275
12: -313
23: -457
16: -567

Monday, July 7, 2014

Let's GO to the Tape.

It's no "Rose Mary Stretch," but the City's Board of Estimate & Apportionment's providing the wrong audio of its 05/20/14 meeting does raise an eyebrow. Instead of providing audio of its May 2014 meeting, E&A provided audio for a most perfunctory E&A meeting in May of 2013. Have a listen and hear for yourself.

Could be an understandable clerical error of mixing up 2013 and 2014, right? Could be. But here's the eyebrow-raiser. Aldermanic President Lewis Reed claims that at this particular May 20, 2014 meeting of E&A (of which an audio record has not been provided), both Mayor Slay and Comptroller Green urged that $29 million in a proposed bond go for infrastructure in Paul McKee's Northside Regeneration TIF zone. On June 23 Reed, citing this 05/20/14 E&A meeting (of which an audio record has not been provided), warned of a possible "sweetheart deal" for Paul McKee.

On June 26, Reed presented a GO bond proposal to the Board of Aldermen's Ways & Means Committee with specific project lists. Reed's proposal separated a controversial police 'real time intelligence center" ballot question from the larger bond, so that voters had the opportunity to support or reject RTIC separately from supporting or rejecting the rest of the bond issue.

Reed's substitute bill presented to Ways & Means on July 2 eliminated money for a home repair program and, perhaps most importantly for a possible "sweetheart deal," eliminated the specificity of the project list.
Mayor Francis Slay wasn't a fan of the level of detail outlined in the bill, saying the city needed flexibility to address changing capital needs. And comptroller Darlene Green didn't like the home repair money because it would cost the city more to sell those bonds.
Eventually, Reed reached a compromise with Slay and Green that kept the real-time intelligence center separate, but eliminated home repair funds and the specific list of projects.
The compromise, however, broke down as "Reed would be one of six aldermen to vote to restore $5 million in home repair, plus make other changes."

With the deal now kaput between Reed on one side and, on the other side, Mayor Slay and Comptroller Green, it's a question of to what extent Slay and Green will involve themselves in what (if any) bond bill gets out of BoA. It already appears likely that the home repair program funds won't survive, but what else could get axed or eliminated? The Capital Committee recommended a bond issue of $155 million total for "critical" departmental requests and set a ceiling of no more than $175 million total. Will a number around $175 million be what gets out of BoA?

How about $180 million? That's the $155 million identified by the Capital Committee as critical, plus $25 million for unspecified (or, if you will, flexible) infrastructure improvements. Keep in mind the proposed funds for things like building demolition that will "incidentally" touch upon McKee's Northside Regeneration, and it's not difficult to see how a $25 million pot for unspecified infrastructure spending gets us to a figure of $29 million for Northside Regeneration.

Perhaps the audio of that 05/20/14 E&A meeting can shed some light. Voters won't have a specific project list to illuminate the issue. Let's GO to the tape. (Get it? GO. Like a GO bond.)

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

MO Transpo Tax Part 3: What's Its Chance?

Part 3 of 3; part 2 is here; part 1 is here.

Yesterday, the pro-Amendment 7 campaign committee, Missourians for Safe Transportation and New Jobs, received donations totaling $97,500. That's yesterday alone. Since the committee's inception, it's raised $586,022. According to Scott Cannon of the Kansas City Star, financial support of the pro-Amendment 7 effort is expected to total "upward of $5 million."

Meanwhile, the anti-Amendment 7 campaign committee, Missourians for Better Transportation Solutions, "likely will rely on social media and public events."

The pro-Amendment 7 committee has Normington & Petts, a DC-based polling and strategy firm with a load of experience winning tough races. It also has valuable experience in statewide Missouri campaigns, as it polled and consulted for Jay Nixon's victorious 2008 campaign for governor.

That's not to say that the dramatic resource disparity of the pro- and anti-7 campaigns automatically makes passage a slam dunk. Conventional Missouri political wisdom holds that Missouri's August primary electorate has a generally anti-tax disposition. Nevertheless, the dramatic resource disparity very well could "level the playing field," if not tilt the playing field in the pro-7 forces' favor.

And a "level playing field" very well could be sufficient to pass Amendment 7. The pro-7 forces need for success but a bare majority: 50% of Missouri's August 5th voters plus one.

And that's the St. Louis regional transportation policy dice-roll. St. Louis' multi-modal transportation advocates have decided to put their public organization efforts seemingly entirely into defeating Amendment 7 on August 5th rather than recently-and-now organizing public pressure on the County Executive's Office for a more multi-modal County project list. St. Louis' multi-modal transportation advocates should hope that they've correctly assessed the potential outcomes and have strategized accordingly. The stakes in this dice-roll are the next ten years (at least) of St. Louis regional transportation policy.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

MO Transpo Tax Part 2: Sales Tax in the City (and County)

Part 2 of 3; Part 1 is here.

While a sales tax may be less regressive than a fuel tax in rural Missouri, a sales tax is still regressive in rural Missouri. In urban and inner-ring suburban St. Louis, the opposite relationship tends to occur. A sales tax is more regressive than a fuel tax in urban/inner-ring suburban St. Louis (though a fuel tax would be regressive, too).

For Missouri communities more urban in character, state sales tax revenue can do things that fuel tax revenue cannot. Missouri gasoline/diesel taxes can only be used for roads, per Article IV Section 30(a) of the Missouri Constitution. Missouri sales tax revenue isn't limited as such, and can be used for any kind of transportation infrastructure such as mass transit, bicycle, pedestrian, river, air, etc. In the Mayor's words, state sales tax revenue provides for flexibility:

Room 200's list of projects submitted to MoDOT takes large advantage of the flexibility afforded by sales tax revenue as opposed to gasoline/diesel tax revenue. Only 25% of the City's "90%" category allotment of revenue ($255 million) would go to road and bridge projects. The other 75% (of $255 million) would go to Complete Streets projects, transit projects, bicyle/pedestrian path projects, airport projects, river port projects and a law enforcement "total transportation center." The City of St. Louis is further projected to receive an additional $2.5 million per year in discretionary, flexible transportation funds. 

In St. Louis County, it's a different story.

After a issuing a statement that the Missouri transportation sales tax issue is "not a top priority" for his administration, the County Executive (at least figuratively) mailed it in to MoDOT. Alex Ihnen's nextSTL piece estimates that approximately 98% of the County's "90%" category allotment of revenue ($841 million) would go to road and bridge projects. It's almost as if the County's "90%" category allotment might as well be gasoline/diesel tax revenue.

Obscured in the story so far has been the fact that these "90%" category county project lists are not final until approved by the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission upon presentation by MoDOT's district heads. There was and is still both time and opportunity for a more multi-modal set of projects for St. Louis County.

It appears to me here that City Aldermanic President Reed refers to the County Executive Office's current ability to revise and/or amend the County project list:   
It's anyone's guess as to what, if any, revisions or amendments the County Executive's Office will make to the County list. What's apparent is the lack of an effort to organize public pressure on the County Executive's Office to take a more multi-modal transportation approach that would be in line with the Mayor's Office's approach.

Instead, efforts at organizing the public for "better transportation solutions" are going toward a campaign to mobilize votes against the state-wide measure, 56 days from now, on August 5th.

Friday, June 6, 2014

MO Transpo Tax Part 1: Rural Road Politics

MSR "farm-to-market" road in Nodaway County, Missouri (2012)
Part 1 of 3

In order to understand the politics of the proposed Missouri 10-year transportation 0.75% sales tax (Amendment 7), start at the Missouri Supplemental Route. This is the MoDOT-maintained system of single and double-lettered roads (i.e. "A" or "BB") that you drive on mostly in rural Missouri. The MSR system of roads is "within 2 miles of more than 95% of all [rural Missouri] farm houses, schools, churches, cemeteries and stores." Many-to-most of the roads in the MSR system could be called "farm-to-market" roads.

Since 2011 when, due to budget cuts, MoDOT commenced its "5 year plan" of cuts of maintenance facilities and workers, the MSR system roads have degraded and continue to degrade. (Ask anybody who uses the MSR system in rural Missouri, and they'll confirm it. I've noticed it.) Depending on who you believe, the degradation of the MSR road system is either the natural result of MoDOT's dramatically-reduced budget, capital and labor capacity ... or a manufactured crisis in service of "Big Concrete." (Consider me insufficiently informed as to causation and therefore agnostic.)

Manufactured or not, it's pretty bad right now (and appearing only to get worse) for communities that depend on the MSR system. At the same time, the communities that the MSR system serve are communities where a fuel tax would hit much harder economically than would a sales tax. By communities, I mean to include not only ordinary people but also the agricultural & ranching industry.

Both this time and the last time (when the transportation sales tax measure failed to move out of the legislature and onto the ballot), rural-based interests (i.e. Missouri Farm Bureau) and rural-based legislators (i.e. Hinson in the House and Kehoe in the Senate) have initiated the drive for a transportation sales tax. Any tax is tough, but a sales tax is least tough on rural Missouri's people and industry when a fuel tax is the alternative. It's both a pocketbook issue and a bottom line issue.

And the MSR roads are bad and getting worse ...   

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Would Participatory Budgeting Boost Anemic Voter Turnout in the City of St. Louis?

Many City of St. Louis politicians talk a good game while other politicians, much more quietly, make good things happen. For so many of the talkers, the default explanation for why their ideas don't get implemented is that St. Louis City's government and politics are fractured into fiefdoms that are controlled by hard-headed pols. Of course, this default explanation never seems to apply to those pols who tender it.

In the 2013 race for Alderman of the City's 6th Ward, Christine Ingrassia soundly defeated Michelle Witthaus by a 2-1 margin. After such a sound victory, Ingrassia could have taken-on Conan the Barbarian's philosophy. But she didn't. Instead, Ingrassia immediately reached-out to Witthaus in order to collaborate on what was largely the raison d'ĂȘtre of Witthaus' aldermanic campaign: participatory budgeting in the 6th Ward.

The collaboration between two former rivals, one electoral victor and one electoral defeated (and don't forget dozens of volunteers and the community at large), has proven to be soundly successful. The 6th Ward's experience with participatory budgeting is especially encouraging because of the 6th Ward's socioeconomic diversity. For a City of St. Louis increasingly segregated along lines of race and social class on the macro and the micro level, the 6th Ward provides an example to follow.

So where in the City of St. Louis should participatory budgeting go next? What would make most sense to me are those City wards where municipal political participation is most anemic. In such wards, citizens apparently aren't connected and therefore not invested in their City government. Participatory budgeting would foster a powerful social and political opportunity for citizens to get directly connected and therefore invested.

In the March 2013 Democratic primary for Mayor of the City of St. Louis, the mean (average) total raw vote for a City ward was 1573. Below, I express each ward's mayoral raw vote turnout as a percentage of the mean (1573), listing the lowest raw turnout first.

Ward 20: 50%
Ward 25: 61%
Ward 19: 69%
Ward 17: 76%
Ward 22: 76%
Ward 09: 76%
Ward 18: 77%
Ward 11: 82%
Ward 05: 83%
Ward 04: 84%
Ward 14: 86%
Ward 07: 87%
Ward 02: 91%
Ward 03: 94%
Ward 10: 96%
Ward 26: 97%
Ward 24: 98%
Ward 15: 104%
Ward 13: 106%
Ward 01: 107%
Ward 27: 110%
Ward 28: 114%
Ward 08: 116%
Ward 21: 122%
Ward 06: 133%
Ward 23: 137%
Ward 12: 157%
Ward 16: 185%

Of course, some of these wards had down-ballot aldermanic contests while others did not. Still, the mix of even-and-odd-numbered wards at both the top and the bottom of the rankings indicate that attribution of such a down-ballot contest explanation does not suffice. I can't help but see in these rankings that there are wards where citizens are connected and therefore invested in their City government and wards where citizens are not.

Why not do participatory budgeting in the three most anemic turnout wards (20, 25 and 19)? Perhaps connected citizens would translate into invested citizens. Perhaps each of these three wards would surpass 75% of the mean next Mayoral election.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Locally-Preferred Alternative

Good thing that I didn't bet money, because I would have lost. The Take Back St. Louis initiative indeed was enjoined, but on different grounds than what I'd bet that the grounds would be. I'd bet that the threshold issue of whether a citizen initiative to amend the City Charter was allowed by the Missouri Constitution would go against Take Back St. Louis. Well, unbeknownst to me because I didn't do my research, citizen-initiated Charter changes already have been enacted, and nobody at the time ever challenged their constitutionality. The Court wasn't going to overturn a bunch of Charter articles on which everybody's relied for decades as valid. The Court instead invalidated the Take Back St. Louis initiative because, on its face, the initiative would have contravened Missouri TIF statutes. State statutes trump municipal charter articles and ordinances. 

It's too bad that there won't be a Take Back St. Louis vote on April 8, because it would've been fun. It would've been fun, and it would've allowed some good people to develop their electoral campaigning skills. It would've been interesting to see how opponents of the initiative would have campaigned against it. Ah, well.

Anyway ...

On the same day that Take Back St. Louis was swatted-down before there could be a campaign and a vote, PotBoA Lewis Reed and 24th Ward Alderman Scott Ogilvie each soft-launched a campaign to build the "Locally-Preferred Alternative" North-South MetroLink Line. Unlike the "Original" South Line, the "Locally-Preferred Alternative" North-South Line would include a station at Jefferson & CHEROKEE. (Click the pics to embiggen them.)
"Original" South Line

"Locally-Preferred Alternative" North-South

On the same day of Reed's and Ogilivie's soft-launches, there was this from Ogilvie with regard to building the "Locally-Preferred Alternative" North-South Line: 
The funny thing is that there already is such a "citizen group." Well, it's a PAC.

It's a PAC called Civic League of Saint Louis. Its mission includes "to organize a constituency for progressive endeavors [and] support and empower visionary candidates." CHEROKEE real estate developer Jason Deem is the PAC's treasurer. It makes sense why both Reed and Ogilvie decided upon the "Locally-Preferred Alternative" North-South Line. The "Locally-Preferred Alternative" line would have a station at CHEROKEE whereas the "Original" would not.

And "visionary candidates" require "support."

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Can the Charter of the City of St. Louis be amended by citizen initiative?

The Charter of the City of St. Louis says "Yes."

Article V, Section 1 of the City Charter:
The people shall have power, at their option to propose ordinances, including ordinances proposing amendments to this charter, and to adopt the same at the polls, with the same effect as if adopted by the board of aldermen and approved by the mayor, such power being known as the initiative.
However, the attorneys representing those opposed to the Take Back St. Louis initiative, which if enacted would amend the City Charter, say "No." They point to an article in the Missouri Constitution that they argue precludes amending the City Charter through citizen initiative.

Article VI, Section 32(a) of the Missouri Constitution:
The charter of the city of St. Louis now existing, or as hereafter amended or revised, may be amended or revised for city or county purposes from time to time by proposals therefor submitted by the lawmaking body of the city to the qualified voters thereof, at a general or special election held at least sixty days after the publication of such proposals, and accepted by three-fifths of the qualified electors voting for or against each of said amendments or revisions so submitted.
So, the anti-Take Back St. Louis attorneys are claiming that the Missouri Constitution allows proposed City Charter amendments to originate only from the Board of Aldermen. They argue, therefore, that a citizen initiative to amend the City Charter violates the Missouri Constitution.

This is a powerful argument, because, in deciding whether to agree or disagree with it, the Bench need not delve into the thicket of conflicting policy claims. The Bench merely needs to decide whether an article of the Missouri Constitution precludes a certain process, namely citizen initiatives to amend the City Charter.

My bet is that if the Bench grants the injunction, it will be on such grounds that, as the anti-Take Back St. Louis attorneys claim, "to the extent Charter, Art. V, §1 allows Charter amendment proposals to arise from the initiative petition process; it conflicts with Mo. Const. Art. VI, §32(a) and is unconstitutional."

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Flyswatter Strategy vs. Take Back St. Louis

The expected litigation never materialized, and so the Take Back St. Louis ballot initiative appears set for an April 8 Citywide vote. As I've written before, the initiative has a snowball's chance of 60% approval by City voters. Still, the initiative should be taken seriously by City pols who are opposed to it. Take Back St. Louis has some potential to be troublesome for a Room 200 that enjoys close relationships with Peabody Coal and Laclede Gas. Right now, though, Take Back St. Louis is like a housefly buzzing annoyingly near Room 200's ear. Going at the housefly with a sledgehammer will only draw attention to the issues that Take Back St. Louis aims to raise. The best strategy for Room 200 is to bring sufficient force to soundly defeat Take Back St. Louis, but no more force than what is necessary. A flyswatter will do fine.

The strategic problem to be solved (the swatting of the fly) comes down to solving the problem of April 8 voter turnout. The pro-Take Back St. Louis vote is small, but it's organized and motivated and it most certainly will turn out on April 8. Soundly defeating this pro vote requires an organized and motivated anti vote roughly twice as large as the pro vote. In what quite likely will be a very low-turnout election day, this twice-as-large anti vote won't need to be numerically huge. We're talking a flyswatter strategy here ... not a sledgehammer strategy.

One useful tactic in support of a flyswatter strategy is to try to foster a contested down-ballot aldermanic election in friendly territory on the same day as the April 8 Take Back St. Louis vote. This past December, Mayor Slay announced the appointment of 13th Ward Alderman Fred Wessels as Director of the City's Community Development Administration. Wessels won't officially vacate the 13th Ward Aldermanic seat until February, thereby scheduling the 13th Ward Aldermanic vacancy election on April 8, the same day as the Take Back St. Louis vote. The 13th Ward Democratic Committeewoman, Beth Murphy, is practically certain to get the Democratic nomination from the City's Central Democratic Committee. There is a not insignificant chance that the Republican Central Committee will nominate a candidate for 13th Ward Alderman. An independent or Green could take a shot at it as well.

Of course, this tactic is most successful if the 13th Ward Aldermanic race is actually contested. It would then be a mere matter of generating a list of likely 13th Ward voters in the aldermanic race based on past turnout history, and directly communicating with these likely voters to vote NO on the Take Back St. Louis initiative. If there's a contested aldermanic race in the 13th Ward, then the total votes cast in the 13th Ward could dwarf the total votes of several wards put together. This effect would be somewhat similar to a "reverse coattails" effect.

Another useful tactic in support of a flyswatter strategy is to generate a list of voters with a certain policy affinity that could perceive the Take Back St. Louis initiative as a threat to that policy affinity. The most exploitable and effective policy affinity would be one associated with progressives, because self-described "progressives" constitute the middle between the Take Back St. Louis boosters on the "progressives'" left and the anti-Take Back St. Louis moderate pro-business Democrats on the "progressives'" right. With a list of such "progressive" voters, they can be communicated-with directly to vote NO on Take Back St. Louis in order to protect their policy affinity.

Generating a policy affinity voter list is a different task than is generating a likely voter list. First, you need to identify the policy affinity (ideally associated with voters aligned in the "middle" of the Take Back St. Louis issue) that you can argue will be threatened. Second, you need to identify the voters (ideally aligned in the "middle" of the Take Back St. Louis issue) who share the policy affinity that you can argue is threatened by the initiative. Okay, let's break it down:

First, identify the policy affinity that you can argue will be threatened by the Take Back St. Louis initiative.
Second, identify and generate a list of City voters who share the policy affinity that you can argue is threatened by the Take Back St. Louis initiative.

With a list of likely voters in the 13th Ward PLUS a list of motivated STL public transit boosters whom you can scare with claims about Metro's demise should the Take Back St. Louis initiative become law, you have the flyswatter to smash the fly. There's no need for a sledgehammer.